Friday, December 26, 2014

In which there's a story about an unusual prosperity

I'm absurdly fond of root vegetables.  Not just potatoes and sweet potatoes, but also rutabagas and parsnips and TURNIPS!  So, here's a story about that.

The Enormous Turnip (Russia)

The grandfather had had been looking after animals and growing vegetables for his whole life - but he had never known a harvest as bad as this one.

'Our cabbages, potatoes and turnips - they've all been ruined by weeks of rain,' he sighed. 'We'll have nothing to eat during the harsh winter.'

But the grandmother knew something that the grandfather did not.  She took him through the mud to the furthest corner of the turnip field. 

Under a tree in a corner, a bunch of green leaves were sprouting tall and proud from the top of a giant root.

“See that?” said the grandmother.  “It’s the answer to our problems.  This turnip is big enough to feed us through the winter, all by itself.  We need only pull it up.”

The grandfather took hold of the greens, and he pulled.  

He pulled and he tugged, and he tugged and he pulled, but the turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The grandmother came to help.  

She grabbed the grandfather by the hand, and together they pulled. They pulled and they tugged, and they tugged and they pulled, but that enormous turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The grandson came to help.  He grabbed the grandmother by the hand, and together they pulled. They pulled and they tugged, and they tugged and they pulled, but still, the turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The granddaughter came to help.  She grabbed the grandson by the hand, and together they pulled. They pulled and they tugged, and they tugged and they pulled, but still, the turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The big goat came to help.  

He grabbed the granddaughter by the apron strings and together they pulled. They pulled and they tugged, and they tugged and they pulled, but still, the turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The sheepdog came to help.  

She grabbed the big goat by the tail, and together they pulled. They pulled and they tugged, and they tugged and they pulled, but even now, the turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

The barncat came to help, and the barn mice came too.  

They all pulled and tugged, tugged and pulled, but that turnip didn’t budge from the mud.

At long and at last, a tiny cricket came to help. 

Nobody thought a cricket would be much help, as small as she was, but she grabbed a barn mouse by the tail, and one last time, together they pulled.

They pulled and they tugged.

They tugged and they pulled.

And finally, the enormous turnip came out of the mud.

It was so big that the grandfather and grandmother had plenty to eat from it all winter.

It was so big that the grandchildren had plenty to eat from it all winter.

It was so big that the goat and the dog and the cat and the mice and even the little cricket had plenty to eat from it all winter.

It was so big that the whole village ate well from the turnip all winter long.

It was so big that the whole county ate well from the turnip all winter long.

It was so big that all of Russia ate well from the turnip all winter long.


And if the grandfather hadn’t lost the seeds, the whole world might still be eating turnips, all winter long.

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